You never forget your first trail experience, and once you conquer that, you become addicted to running in the lap of nature, writes Radhika Meganathan.
Letting your feet take you through colourful, picturesque scenery and feeling the rush, the thrill, the sheer joy of running… we know what you are looking for, so here are five South Indian trail races that you must not miss!
The 70km terrain of Nilgiris Ultra takes you through “dirt tracks, mountain roads, steep hills, forest roads, mountain valleys and tea estates,” as described proudly by its organisers. You will not only run past shola forests and tribal settlements, but also wind through stunning tea estates and waterfalls. The course flows up and down until the last 6km, so let’s remind you once again that this trail is not for the weak-hearted, but if you are prepared for it, you will be rewarded immensely.
When: December 8, 2018
Starts from: Heart of Ooty town, and ends at Upper Bhavani reservoir
There are three categories: 42.2 km, 21.1 km and 10 km, leading you through the famous Kaveri belt. Since the trail forms a part of the land adjacent to a bird sanctuary, runners would be able to see over 150 varieties of birds. As you run, you will be taking in glimpses of wildlife, even families of otters diving for their dinner. Do stay away from the waterscapes and marshy areas, the marsh crocodile is not an animal you want to meet during your run!
When: 24th and 25th November, 2018. Registrations will close once all the slots have been filled, so do not delay.
Starts from: The race will begin and end outside Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary. Transport (paid) is offered from Bangalore and Mysore to the base of the marathon.
Details at http://kaveritrailmarathon.com
Hampi, Badami, and Coorg
When: Go Heritage Run is a crowd-pleasing and award winning organiser of races at various heritage locations in India. Some of their offerings this year cover the historic sites of Hampi, Badami and the biodiversity hotspot of Coorg, taking you through some fantastic natural scenery including forts and caves, forests and ruins. All runs are held only on Sundays.
Starts from: Various upcoming dates, check with the official calendar
Details at https://www.goheritagerun.com/2018-calendar/
Though the two races below do not technically form part of trails, we are including it in this list because they take place in lush green ambience!
Spice coast marathon
God’s own country Kerala plays host for this marathon which has been meticulously designed in such a way that the runner soaks in the key sights and landmarks of the historic beach town Kochi, for every kilometer stretch that they run. In addition to a full and half marathon, there is also a 8km fun run for those who want to do this at their own leisure.
When: Nov 11, 2018
Starts from: K K Premachandran Sports Complex, Willingdon Island, Kochi
Details at http://spicecoastmarathon.com
Originally a celebration event on the 40th year anniversary of Auroville, this marathon became an annual, non-commercial race with categories of 42km, 21km and 10km. All participants who finish are considered winners, hence it is not a timed race. Go for it, to experience the beauty of a planned township with its red earth and lush vegetation and sustainable architecture.
When: 2nd Sunday of every February
Starts from: Auroville. The route map will be uploaded on the official website two weeks before the event.
Details at https://www.marathon.auroville.com